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Old 06-28-08, 11:05 AM   #1
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When did Specialized start kicking LBS butt?

I recently went to the LBS that sold me my Roubaix last year, and there were no Specialized bikes to be found. None. Nunca. Zip. Zero.

The store manager explained that Specialized tried to make them a deal they couldn't refuse. Carry only Specialized, or carry NO Specialized.

So they chose the latter.

When did this happen? I think it's awful. Shame on Specialized!
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Old 06-28-08, 11:28 AM   #2
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Maybe they're flexing their Trek-like muscles. Giant will probably be next.
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Old 06-28-08, 11:29 AM   #3
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My LBS carries Specialized and several others.
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Old 06-28-08, 12:48 PM   #4
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Specialized has always had the "attitude". In my experience, customer service sucks as well and has for many years.

About 5 years ago the Roswell (Atlanta area) bike shop dropped Specialized because they would consistently short his bike orders. He told me they were stifling his sales. He went on to become (supposedly) the biggest Giant bike dealer in the SE. That was told to me by another Giant dealer.

He recently started carrying Specialized again, but you see very few in the store. Haven't had a chance to find out why. I suspect it's on his terms and not Specialized.

All that said, they do make the best rear suspension for mountain bikes out there under their patent. I love my Stumpjumper.

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Old 06-28-08, 12:51 PM   #5
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My LBS carried Specialized, Trek and Gary Fisher. Trek and Specialized both started pressuring them to drop the other and carry more inventory of their brand. Eventually, the had to drop Trek and Gary Fisher. All of them are applying pressure on their dealers. Only the dealers that do high volume can effectively push back.
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Old 06-28-08, 01:26 PM   #6
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Maybe they're flexing their Trek-like muscles. Giant will probably be next.
No doubt. Trek is making the same noises about pushing dealers to skew their inventory heavily toward Trek brands for accessories as well as bikes.

I'm kind of surprised it hasn't come to this sooner. That's what car manufacturers do.
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Old 06-28-08, 01:48 PM   #7
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That's it! It's official. Bikes are the new car.
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Old 06-28-08, 01:53 PM   #8
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That's it! It's official. Bikes are the new car.
I thought it was the new golf
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Old 06-28-08, 02:02 PM   #9
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Specialized has moved to the "Concept Store" in San Diego, which resulted in some ugly lawsuits between a LBS which sold their bikes, and Specialized... apparently didn't like the new "deal" and dropped the line. In the end Bicycle retailing is a business, and a difficult one to make much/any money.

When I was a kid, the local hardware/locksmith/outboard motor repair shop also sold schwinns. The only other option was the junk bikes from department stores like Sears. Now we have Performance, et. al. buying up the independents in most of the major cycling markets. Wow, somebody actually is expecting to make money in the business.

times, they are a changing...
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Old 06-28-08, 02:16 PM   #10
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No doubt. Trek is making the same noises about pushing dealers to skew their inventory heavily toward Trek brands for accessories as well as bikes.

I'm kind of surprised it hasn't come to this sooner. That's what car manufacturers do.
Over here- we have this thing called Europe. We are part of the EEC (European Economic Community) and it messes us up ocasionally. On the Car side- Any main dealer can take on another Car Franchise and there is nothing the Manufacturers can do about it. On the Truck side- Any one can set themselves up as a truck dealer-Providing they can get the trucks and there is nothing that the manufacturer can do about it. So you invest millions in setting up a Ford agency- and Joe Bloggs can buy the cars from Europe and sell them in the lot next to you.

Specialised gave my LBS the choice of sole agency or nothing several years ago. They now sell Giants.-And Kona-And Land rover- and British Eagle.
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Old 06-28-08, 02:27 PM   #11
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Specialized started turning up the heat about 4-5 years ago, according to two LBS owners I've spoken with. They want at least 60%-70% (and preferably 80% or more) of all bikes on the sales floor to be theirs. I've known two LBS who dropped, or were dropped by, Specialized. And two others who gave in and dropped other lines in order to continue to sell Specialized.

Trek does the same thing, sometimes insisting on as much as 80%. Trek is on the way to opening up 1000 Trek Company stores.

Really, almost every company would do it if they had the clout to pull it off. Right now pretty much the only two companies with sufficient marketshare to demand it are Trek & Specialized.
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Old 06-28-08, 03:10 PM   #12
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Maybe they're flexing their Trek-like muscles. Giant will probably be next.
Perhaps I should erase your ignorance?

My LBS deals Trek, Mirraco and Eastern. Trek does NOT force only their brand and subsidiaries upon bike shops.

By the way, another LBS in my area deals Specialized, Giant, Surly and Scott.
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Old 06-28-08, 03:16 PM   #13
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Perhaps I should erase your ignorance?

My LBS deals Trek, Mirraco and Eastern. Trek does NOT force only their brand and subsidiaries upon bike shops.

By the way, another LBS in my area deals Specialized, Giant, Surly and Scott.
The times they are a changing baby. You might want to wait until November to erase my ignorance.

The guys that run the shop that I used to work at were stunned after their Trek rep's last visit. October is the month when dealer contracts are usually renewed. Now that I have no personal involvement in it I think that it's going to be fun seeing how it all plays out.
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Old 06-28-08, 04:05 PM   #14
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Yep, Trek & Specialized are making their rounds. Not hitting every LBS at once. But each has already hit hundreds of LBS's, especially Trek. If one is in an area where Trek and/or Specialized doesn't yet have an option to build a company store or hook in with a big LBS, then they let the existing ones go on, with a mixed floor. But when either gets a lever to use, then they use it.

Trek will allow other bikes on the floor, up to 10%-20% of the floor space can be on other lines. One of my local Trek LBS also carries Orbea.

Two of the LBS's in my area have multiple storefronts, so Trek let them remain dealers as long as one of them met Trek's requirements. So both moved all of their Treks into one of their locations.
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Old 06-28-08, 05:48 PM   #15
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[QUOTE=ProFail;6964343]Perhaps I should erase your ignorance?

QUOTE]

Gee, I read a thread here about this being a friendly forum.

Al

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Old 06-28-08, 05:58 PM   #16
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About 25+ years ago, Trek would pull their bikes from one lbs because they didn't sell enough product and provide bikes to the other or second lbs in town. Then years later, the second lbs would lose trek and it they would revert to the original lbs. According the owner of one of the shops, they went through two complete cycles over a number of years. The second lbs has trek today along with a couple of other major brands.

We are a low volume area (Panama City, FL) for the more expensive bikes

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Old 06-28-08, 06:20 PM   #17
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But these are American companies! What's all the fuss? Isn't it the American way to polarise the market in the name of competition and making money?

FWIW, Specialized has been attempting similar tactics in Australia for five years or so, and they promote the stores that take up the option as being something special (sorry, I can't think of the promotional term that's used right now). One store I know of had to ditch good-sellling, mid to high-level brands in order to comply, but retained some of the lower level brands even by stealth -- the market they were in definitely would not have allowed them to survive on Specialized alone. Giant, on the other hand, was available in three or four stores -- in a city of only 250,000 -- and its sales were always very good at all model levels.

Diversity is the name of real success, and I would have thought the exclusive-make auto dealer business models would have shown a patent lack of success in recent times.
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Old 06-28-08, 07:38 PM   #18
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Always owned great bikes/tandems.
Never owned Trek/Specialized/Giant.
Trek started out small as did Specialized; Giant built for other brands for years. Now they've all become too big for their britches.
Brand domination comes and goes . . .
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Old 06-28-08, 07:49 PM   #19
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You couldn't start any smaller than what Trek did.

And they did it after bikes had already become a big industry.
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Old 06-28-08, 08:00 PM   #20
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Trust me, bike shops aren't the only people who suffer this. When you guys go to beating up on your LBS you have no idea as to what it is they have to deal with. This even comes into play regarding warranty reimbursement and unit costs. Trek even pushes their dealers to stock Trek only branded after the sale goods (accessories).

In my industry (outdoor power equipment) we call it holding a gun to your head, not sure what it's called in the bike world.
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Old 06-28-08, 09:37 PM   #21
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FWIW

Specialized sued a LBS Owner in San Diego over the agreement / contract that Specialized would send what they wanted and something else about distance to another Specialized Concept Store. Specialized makes some nice bikes but it kind of reminds me of getting a Toyota Avalon vs a Lexus. Specialized is not as price competitive in my opinion as Fuji or some others.
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Old 06-29-08, 06:11 AM   #22
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Perhaps I should erase your ignorance?

My LBS deals Trek, Mirraco and Eastern. Trek does NOT force only their brand and subsidiaries upon bike shops.

By the way, another LBS in my area deals Specialized, Giant, Surly and Scott.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Al.canoe View Post


Gee, I read a thread here about this being a friendly forum.

Al
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i liek 2 biek
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I think we have been invaded.
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Old 06-29-08, 06:28 AM   #23
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Here is ProFail's profile:

Biography:
i liek 2 biek
Location:
North Carolina
Interests:
Wut
Occupation:
Student
Bicycle(s):
2008 Trek Fuel EX7, 2007 Trek 1600, 2007 Eastern Warthog


I think we have been invaded.
That's funny. I used to participate in the mountain bike forum, but it's populated by these types. I just gave up. Too much uncontrolled testosterone I guess.

Al
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Old 06-29-08, 06:33 AM   #24
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These companies are acting like thugs and mobsters - rather than relying on great products they are manipulating the market. I bought a Specialized last year - I like it quite a bit and it was a great value.

I work for a major corporation, if we did this we would get hauled into court. We spend hours in business ethics classes so that we do nothing that might find it's way on the front pages.
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Old 06-29-08, 06:58 AM   #25
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Times are changin! One thing I originally loved about Chicago's higher-end shops was variety and selection, versus the old Schwinn shops, which were as vertically-integrated as Trek and Specialized try to be.

My fave in Ann Arbor is Great Lakes. They dropped Trek and Specialized because of distributor pressure, and took on Cannondale and GT. They also sell Felt, and will do very high-end Orbea on a special order basis. Plus the current owner is actively trying to train and improve service and staff, even though they are now at a high level.

The shop I worked in in Chicago had (the owner had) a motto. If you repair bicycles, you should be willing to repair all bicycles that come in the door. They all work the same way, just the parts (threading, fitting) could be different.

Another one here has both Specialized and Trek - I dunno how he did that.

Another one sells "super brands," like Ducati and a bunch of other boutique-ish stuff, but has some kind of special qualification with Specialized to handle some Body Geometry stuff for their fitting service.

I kinda prefer the ones with poor lighting, wooden floors, bikes on racks, and experienced knowledgable staff who are savvy about people, and with a lot of NOS in the back room.
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